While the regular season of Major League Baseball is still three weeks away, baseball as real fans know it has already begun. I am not referring to the spring training month that precedes every season; I am talking about the inaugural edition of the World Baseball Classic. Last week the Asian bracket led off the classic with Korea upsetting the Far East version of America, namely Japan, with a 3-2 victory in the Pool A title game.
Today, the remaining three pools of four teams started with a thrilling late-inning victory by the Dominican Republic, scoring five runs in the top of the ninth to pull away from Venezuela for an 11-5 victory over the league's best southpaw, Johan Santana. Immediately following that game was a nail-biter between the United States and our southern neighbor, Mexico. Two solo home runs -- one by Chicago Cubs' first baseman Derrek Lee and the other by Atlanta Braves' third baseman/left fielder Chipper Jones -- accompanied lights-out pitching by a cornucopia of big name pitchers led by San Diego Padres' ace Jake Peavy as the US team beat Mexico 2-0 in a pitching gem that yielded only 10 hits.
Keep up the great work Team USA! They face their other North American neighbor, Canada, tomorrow in game two of the first round. Baseball is here everybody, so get pumped!